Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Gen-Y Films and may your New Year be head and shoulders above the last. Muhahahahahahaaha!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou DVD promo is all done and hopefully will give you a good idea of what to expect come early next year.

The special features will be quite extensive, an entire second disc jammed with two and a half hours worth. There will about around half hour's worth of deleted scenes and unused interview clips for starters. As I compiled enough to make a two and a half hour film if I wanted to be more self indulgent, there was a lot of stuff that was cut or unused but I think is pretty interesting. There also will be a revealing look at the night of the premiere and my edit of the entire Life in a Day shoot as seen on YouTube edited together into one piece. Also included will be old 2008 short Conversations with T.F. Mou of course and the "Jesus Bleibet Meine Freude" video made with friend Pei-yeh Tsai. Also included, like The Big Toe was on my Two Short Films disc, is my Aquatic Observations short from 2003. The first two "AO" (as I used to call them) shorts will be cut together into one film.

One interesting feature that will be on the disc I have barely mentioned are a pair of ephemeral shorts I discovered via the glorious public domain world of while editing Black Sunshine. The first is Experiments in the Revival of Organisms and is about a bunch of experiments conducted on freshly dead dogs involving revival from the dead, the creepiest bit is a scene where a dog's severed head is kept alive (did a drawing of it here). The authenticity of this documentary short is disputed but the experiments did actually take place at some point, what is depicted in the film could be a staged reenactment, but the film on the whole is a deeply unsettling experience with a stark tone and Eraserhead-like black and white images. Also on the disc is a short called My Japan, an anti-Japanese propaganda piece made late during the war in early 1945 to promote the buying of war bonds. Resorting to the racist "whites as Asians" caricatures Hollywood pop culture was not above at the time, it depicts what is allegedly the "true point of view of the Japanese" and indeed, is something of a grotesque exaggeration of the truth.

As promised, I will also be doing a slight redo of Two Shorts Films with an added Easter egg (imagine exaggerated puppet moaning in your head and you'll get the idea) and the Little Red Riding Hood making of stuff redone as well as added menus. This and the Black Sunshine disc set will be discounted if you buy them together. The Black Sunshine: T.F. Mou set will cost $15 for the normal version and $25 for the special "limited collector's edition" signed by T.F. Mou and me which there will only be two dozen units of.

In other news, once again, donate to Alison in Wonderland on Kickstarter using the widget on the right if you can. I am not making a big long promo video after all. Sadly the footage came out a little blurry because I used autofocus and I don't feel like shooting it again and working so hard on a video that may not even pay off. It's probably a good idea anyways as the big long 10 minute presentation I was planning on making may be off-putting for more casual viewers anyways. I will be making a shorter, soundbytier video in the next week or so.

Monday, December 06, 2010

A couple minor updates. First off, another reminder to, if you possibly can, donate to Alison in Wonderland on Kickstarter (the widget on the right)! 10 days in and no money yet!

I have renamed my home video label, formerly titled Ephemeral DVD (after the "ephemeral film" genre which I like). It is now called Metacomet Video after the real life doomed Wampanoag Chief and Horror Colony supporting character better known as King Phillip. The logo has been redesigned as seen above.

I will be shooting the Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou DVD promo and Alison in Wonderland fundraiser video soon.

Also for anyone living in Plymouth, Massachusetts or nearby, starting tomorrow, there will much J.L. Carrozza related material airing on PACTV Channel 13 including the first ever airing of Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou. It will be aired both in its entirety and in two parts. They will be re-aired several times in the subsequent weeks, same time, same channel.
Two Short Films by J.L. Carrozza-  Tuesday 12/07/2010 at 10:30 pm
Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou- Thursday 12/09/2010 at 11:00 pm
Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou (Part I)- Friday 12/10/2010 at 10:30 pm
Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou (Part II)- Saturday 12/11/2010 at 10:30 pm

The version of Black Sunshine shown on PACTV is the censored "R" level version. All the nudity has been optically obscured (a real pain in the butt) and the worst of the violence has been obscured with freeze frames. I know, but the Vatican's orders.. Actually, I got in a heapin' helpin' of trouble years ago for airing the Shaw Brothers cult flick The Killer Snakes and have since been a little bit on the careful/paranoid side. You can air whatever you want but people can also flood the station with angry complaints as much as they want. I'd rather avoid that.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Some big news today.

The Kickstarter page for Alison in Wonderland is now up! You will donate money. And if you forget, don't worry, I'll be embedding this widget everywhere and constantly reminding you.

I also have what appears to be two film sellers interested in Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou. We'll see what comes out of all that!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The project may be post-poned, but here's the full script for 'Would You Like to Take a Survey?'. I'm pretty happy with it and think it's clever and amusing myself, but what do you think?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

First, a new website update. Nothing much, just some new sketches including some Alison in Wonderland design work and some more current information on Black Sunshine and Alison and such.

For some news that will perhaps bring relief to some and regret to others, 'Would You Like to Take a Survey?' has been canceled for now. I have realized that making it will make Alison's production more difficult, not easier and would much rather just cut to the chase and make Alison. Black Sunshine was planned as a side project to occupy me until Alison got off the ground and became a monstrous behemoth that actually ended up likely postponing Alison. Last thing I want is another side project stepchild sidestepping the filming of my beloved birth child. I still, however, am proud of the script and may make it afterward.

Alison in Wonderland will soon have a Kickstarter page! I am setting it up right now and will launch it around Thanksgiving.

I have built another piked head for the Queen's throne room, will be making those around monthly. I also will begin construction of the Castle of Hearts miniature early this year. More pictures from Gen-Y Films' macabre workshop:
I started with a premade and purchased severed head prop and began by drilling a nice big hole in its base to fit the pike through.
I then cut lacerations in the head with an exact-o knife, these will be filled in with papier-mache and then painted and textured to look like gaping, pustule rotting wounds. The head after drilling and laceration but before it gets the "lived-in" effect.
Starting a brand new pike. All the pikes and heads will be a little different for more realism. Again I used two dowels fastened together and covered with papier-mache but these were a little longer and thinner. I didn't bother sharpening it this time as I put the head atop the pike instead of impaled through it.
The head lays out to dry after filling the holes I cut with papier-mache.
The new pike lays out to dry as well. It's a better made, more state of the art one I think, I did the papier-mache entirely with brown paper bag which works well to simulate the look of wood. After it dried, I painted it with brown acrylic paint.
Guzzling German beer as I paint the head for a look like the skin is just starting to rot away, exposing the flesh underneath.The partially completed head now attached to the fully painted pike. I uses some of the leftover paint from the pike to dirty up, mottle and age the skin to simulate the discoloration of decay.
The second head up against the first. It's a few inches taller.

The head and its final component, a wig for more realism and character. That's a jar of Vaseline I used to get the wig realistically grungy and greasy like in real life.
Cutting and modifying the wig to make it fit the head better and more realistically.
Wig now fitted, grunged-up and molded a little thanks to the stickiness of the Vaseline. I also used some dirt to make the hair look more realistically worn. Now putting a layer of papier mache on the base of the head which will be painted so it will look like the flesh is rotting and sticking to the pike a bit.
The new head lays down to dry all finished and painted the next day. The poor, pathetic serf died a horrible death at the hands of the Red Queen and her freakish servants indeed.
The old head and the new, I'm equally happy with them both.
The new head stands completed. I am pleased with its realism.A longer shot of the new head to put its size into perspective.
A wide shot of both heads in my living/editing room for even more size perspective as I relish the Argento cut of Dawn of the Dead!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I have been preparing for Alison in Wonderland to some degree and have just started building and procuring a few of the props. I have a new Canon Rebel EOS camera that takes beautiful HD video and will be used as one of the cameras in the film. I also am working somewhat on the Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou DVD set, with which there is good news and bad news. First the bad news, which is that I am axing the commentary and releasing it in February instead of December, will give me time to work on it though I think the Two Short Films repressing may be available in December. All I need to do for that one is redo the Red Riding Hood making of stuff and make the menus.

The good news is that T.F. Mou, whose wife called me to reiterate how pleased they were with the film, has agreed to autograph a certain number of copies and I will be autographing them as well. They will be sold for around an extra $10 as "limited collector's editions". Like with the shorts, I will be returning to this and repolishing it in X amount of time. I have found out new information about T.F. Mou since I finished the movie, I need to correct the "Men Behind the Sun-Man Behind the Sun" issue and Mou is working on getting me access to his early Taiwanese movies.

Truth is, I've been very depressed lately and in a fit of frustration broke my toe from kicking a concrete column the other day. I have struggled harder than I thought I'd ever have to for the last few years and have too little to show for it in my mind. And my talents and visionary mind, rather than connect me with people like I had hoped, seem to have alienated me to some degree, including with many of my former collaborators and I am also sick of people's ruthlessness. I am frustrated my life still isn't where I want it to be, I am in a period of transition now and haven't yielded enough from it in my mind which has drained and exhausted me. I want so badly to contribute to the world but it can seem like the world doesn't want me.

But I am getting back on my feet (both metaphorically and literally as I am now hobbling around with a cane until the broken toe heals). I have been worrying too much. All this strife and resistance I encountered made me depressed and obsessively worry and that ended up crippling me both mentally and physically. Truth is, despite this strong self image I have tried to send out, I am still rather insecure and I still worry about failing and also that my detractors may be "right" in the end. I have to especially forget about both of these and love my life again instead of seeing as it a means to some vague final victory. My perfectionism, obsession with "winning" and proving myself worthwhile in the scheme of things has made me miserable and life can seem like nothing but a string of let downs and frustrations.

Here is some prop work I have been doing as of late. Pictures all courtesy of my new camera.
My materials for the first few creations: a pumpkin (for my festival Halloween "Lucifer O' Lantern") and an electric Halloween skull decoration that will become the first of the Queen's piked heads. I started by gutting the electrical components from the skull and the etchings on the pumpkin were my carving design.Some bones and skeletal parts that came with the skull. These will be given a "lived-in", more realistic post-decay look and used for both the Hatter's torture house and the Queen's dungeon.
The "Lucifer O' Lantern", a jack-o-lantern made into a Devil face in construction, I added prosthetic cliche horns and pitched tail for more effect which I sculpted in clay and then coated with papier-mache. I cut a hole in the bottom to fit in a candle with I would mount on a clamshell. I like to eat stuffed clams so have a lot of those lying around.The first pike in construction. The pike was made from two dowels (industrial wooden support rods) and wood glued then taped together with strong tape and papier-mached. I spent a few days sharpening the top dowel into a pike. I would sit out on my porch, drink beer and sharpen it like a cannibal tribesman. After it dried here, it was then covered in a few layers of papier-mache with brown paper bag and then painted.The Lucifer O' Lantern drying after carving and papier-macheing, the blue bowl has the papier mache that I had been using for all my recent prop department projects.The bowl of papier-mache and an IKEA all purpose screw driver with about 10 different interchangeable bit heads I used to help carve the pumpkin.The Lucifer O'Lantern continues to dry. On the chair is the exact-o knife that I used for both the pumpkin carving and the pike sharpening.Painting the Lucifer O'Lantern and pike.The Lucifer O'Lantern, painted red as a final touch and finished. The Lucifer O'Lantern glows with the unearthly fire of Hades.After drilling and chipping a hole in the gutted, formerly electric skull, I put the finished and painted pike through it. I then molded a layer of red clay onto it to simulate some flesh and musculature. I applying a layer of papier-mache to the skull next, I used thin paper like tissue and tracing sheets to best simulate hanging, rotting flesh. Finally, I papier-mached some fake hair I had lying around on it afterward.The finished piked head lays down to dry as my plants get some sun.The first completed piked head all completed and now standing against my wall where it will stay as a macabre decoration until filming. It will go in the Red Queen's throne room like in this pre-viz painting here.A wide shot of the piked head against my wall, puts its size more into perspective, it's a little under six feet tall.The Lucifer Lantern a week later and all the worse for wear; oozing more gunk than a hoo-haa with chlamydia. Sadly it didn't make it to Halloween. I should have started carving a week before H'ween instead of two weeks. Now I know for next year, pumpkins go bad really fast.Now about 10 or so days later I started work on the plastic bones as I geared up to make another head. I discolored them slightly and then applied papier-mache tissue to make it look like there was still some rotting flesh hanging off them.
The finished first "batch of bones". I painted them to give them a very "post rotted" look and added to the effect by putting a little hair on them and painting them with a little soil from my house plants to "dirty them up". These will go in the Hatter's house and these props will be adorned with live maggots and mealworms to enhance their realism even more. The second batch will be painted a little differently (paler and cooler for a more "bleached" look) and will go in the Queen's dungeon.

I have also been building another piked head in the last week and am almost done with it. Pictures (of which there are many) soon, I am waiting on a wig as it needs some hair.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The last of the Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou clips.

I have done a slight touch up and recut on the movie for DVD and it now runs about 30 seconds shorter closer to 95 minutes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou goodness. The half hour or so of the movie devoted to Man Behind the Sun is, naturally, the best and most meaty (no pun intended) part of the movie.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A few more Black Sunshine clips. Also building an amusing Jack-o-lantern in time for Halloween and one of the first props for Alison in Wonderland, a half rotted piked head for the Red Queen's throne room. I am making the Mad Hatter's hat as well as some rotting bones for the Hatter's house. Pictures soon.

So far the Hatter's jacket (purple as an homage to the Joker and all dog eaged and stained like that of Heath's Joker, a huge influence on my vision of the Hatter), some whips (including Mr. Punishment from Little Red Riding Hood) and some fake pearls for the Red Queen's wardrobe have been stockpiled. Red and the Wolf's katanas will also go in the Hatter's house. I am also designing the cover of Black Sunshine's DVD, the backcover features the motif of the Japanese flag splashed with blood just like at the end of Man Behind the Sun.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A few Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou clips. There will be about a dozen in total. The next three will be online Sundayish.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A brand spanking new website update! Included are some design touch ups, the updates on Black Sunshine, new pages for The Magic Forest (RIP good taste) and 'Would You Like to Take a Survey?'. New drawings like the finally unveiled full color montage illustration I made for Mou as a gift as seen in Life in a Day (pictured above).

And best of all, the DVD cover, specs and special features of Black Sunshine's DVD are officially announced and set in stone.

As for what is to come, there will be about a dozen clips of Black Sunshine that will be posted the moment I get the movie "smoothed" over of which I'm already making some progress on, so sometime in the next couple weeks. I will also be making a DVD promo like was the case with Two Short Films a year ago.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A couple new things.

First, here's an interview with me on Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou by Brian Bankston of the nice cult film blog Cool Ass Cinema. It's very long and I talk about a lot of things, from my beginnings with Little Red Riding Hood and Dream House to my personal relationship with T.F. Mou and the trials and to some degree suffering that was making Black Sunshine. I reveal a lot of backstory from Dave Luce's antics to Mou's films and his influence on Hong Kong cinema.

Here's a music video I directed that shows off the film's finale which gets a little bit Koyaanisqatsi. I wanted that Bach piece in the movie for the end where Mou and I get more philosophical and down to Earth. The final message of the movie is a little like the "just tend the garden" revelation in Voltaire's Candide. You know, in spite of all the horrors in the world, all you can really do and ultimately the most effective method of fighting it is just to enjoy the gift of life. Pei-yei Tsai is a pianist friend of mine from Taiwan who I know through my uncle and I called upon her when I wanted an original recording of Jesus Bleibet Meine Freude.

The whole Instrumentality sequence in End of Evangelion was also an influence which you can see here I think. The music video was shot in the upstairs piano room at Boston University and the moving shots where done with an office chair and skateboard. Also, the tranquil city footage is from a variety of sources. Some it was shot early in 2010 when I was living in Cambridge for Black Sunshine. There's a little bit of footage I shot for Life in a Day as well and a good half of it is from the stock footage I shot for the old Alice in Wonderland back in 2008. I went around Boston and got around 45 minutes of shots of all over the city intended for a big, bombastic opening credit sequence. When the project blew up in my face I was left with a tape filled with stock footage of the city. I used a fair share of it in Black Sunshine.

The YouTube clips of Black Sunshine should be up in a week or two. Also, the script for 'Would You Like To Take a Survey?' is done. I'm happy with it, it's twisted, amusing stuff I think. The normal method of parodying something is to take something serious and make it light and airy. This takes a light and airy running joke on Animaniacs and turns it into a heavy, suspenseful slasher film like scenario which in of itself is the joke.

I'm not gonna talk about it too much. I want it to be a surprise, but it's personal in its own way and involves a girl in the city being stalked by a grotesquely dressed, ghoul-like businessman with a high pitched braying voice (picture J. Gordon Levitt, Herk Harvey in Carnival of Souls and Spongebob Squarepants all rolled together) who really, really wants a her to take his survey and just won't take no for an answer. Nor will he take "Get the fuck away from me", "I'm calling the police" or a pepper-spraying to the eyes.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Myself introducing Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou. I had this taped and it will precede the movie on DVD.
So the premiere was a smashing success. The film was well received by all, including T.F. Mou himself. I finished T.F. Mou's sketch and presented it to him in a nice frame and also gave him a poster. Before the showing and furiously rushing back to get everything in order, I had dinner with T.F. and his wife Linda. One confusion on the subject on Man Behind the Sun has been the title. It's mostly called Men Behind the Sun on video and DVD and by fans in the West, though the English title card under the Chinese Hei Tai Yang Qisanyi (Black Sun 731) has always said Man Behind the Sun. I always assumed it was an "Engrish" faux pas which so common with English stuff in Chinese and Japanese media. Linda, who is from the US and speaks perfect English, explained to me that the movie is supposed to be called Man Behind the Sun and that she came up with the title herself. It is Man instead of Men to give it a more "humanistic" sound, as atrocities like Unit 731 are hardly specific to the Japanese and are a travesty plaguing all of humanity.
T.F. Mou and I at the premiere.
I joked that Lost Souls feels almost like a prototype version of Man Behind the Sun in many ways. Both films have documentary openings and play it lighter for the first act before their really bad trips kick in, have a second act dominated by grotesque torture sequences and have more action based finales (the illegal immigrants escape the human traffickers and the Japanese retreat from 731). He said a lot of Lost Souls' more action and exploitation-based elements were the result of him trying to please Shaw Brothers. It seemed like Run Run Shaw was not bothered that much by the explicitness of that film. After all, he greenlit films like Kuei Chih Hung's Bamboo House of Dolls and The Killer Snakes on a regular basis, a flamboyant exploitation film can be sold, it was the film's political edge that annoyed him far more. Mou went to the same school as Sun Chung (Avenging Eagle, Sexy Killer, Human Skin Lanterns) and Kuei Chih Hung, I told him that I thought it was amusing that all three filmmakers went to the same film school in Taiwan and all had such a reputation for making violent movies. I talked about how I think Dr. Shiro Ishii was afflicted with sociopathy to which T.F. and Linda were less sure. Linda told me that she thinks George W. Bush is a war criminal to which I wholeheartedly agreed. I then added what I've thought for a while, that the Afghan and especially Iraq wars, instead of stop terrorism, have basically created 100 Osama Bin Ladens. Those boys who were maimed in the explosions, who lost their family members in the crossfire between the US soldiers and insurgents, etc, will grow up to be very angry young men and don't be surprised if you see them on the next planes that fly into which ever landmark they choose.
T.F. autographs a poster.
The premiere itself was fun, though I was pretty exhausted so couldn't enjoy it as much as I wanted. I brought the swords from Little Red Riding Hood along as grotesque ornaments to which T.F. Mou said "Are you planning on killing me in there?". I guess Chinese people are still freaked out by katanas for obvious reasons though ironically most of them are now made in China including the Kill Bill replicas I used in Red. I introduced the film at beginning, stressing how its mix of cult cinema, politics and history is very personal to my sensibility and how I see T.F. Mou as a misunderstood figure, something of the Asian Voltaire of his day. This dude Max from England showed up with a virtual storehouse of Man Behind the Sun memorabilia, all of which T.F. Mou autographed. I asked T.F. how accurate the film was to his life and experiences and he said there was almost no misinformation, it was about 99% accurate from what he could tell and contained tidbits he had even forgotten about, which made my night. He indeed secretely directed the porno flick Trilogy of Lust for Julie Lee, he was introduced to Lee, who once was the favorite whipping girl of Hong Kong's tabloids but hasn't been seen in years, by a mutual producer friend. I said I always knew he made it since it visually it looks a lot like Lost Souls and his friend probably was quick to think of him since it was Hong Kong's first hardcore pornographic film I believe and Mou had reputation for taboo trailblazing.

The venue, the screening room at the Coolidge Corner theater in Brookline, the film looked nice on their sizable screen.
I have been resting for the last week as I am still kind of exhausted. I really had to haul ass to finish the film in time. As I somewhat rushed the end of it to completion, the film has a few technical glitches I need to iron out but there will clips on YouTube and airtime on PACTV in a few weeks. I will begin work on the DVD and pre-production work for Alison soon. The special features will be unvieled by my next, forthcoming website update.

My next official project however will be a short film made this Winter or Spring entitled Would You Like to Take a Survey?. I am writing the script right now and it should be around 10-15 minutes long. It's based on a stupid running gag that nonetheless I have never forgotten in Animaniacs but done in that ironic serious tone and slasher flick style. Carnival of Souls will be another big influence and it will have my trademark sick sense of humor running through it hard. It's basically going to be made to warm me up for Alison and test out that film's planned infrastructure and shooting style. I've always been enthused by the concept of stylistically "mixing stocks" and I want to stylistically mix HD with a DSLR camera, HDV with a camcorder and DV together with Alison to keep costs down while making things more visceral and this short will be a perfect oppurtunity to test that out.